News

November 2018

Professor Dan Boneh is the Rajeev Motwani Professor in the School of Engineering and head of the Applied Cryptography Group. He and advisee, PhD candidate Henry Corrigan-Gibbs, developed a system called 'Prio.' Their data privacy system aims to allow data collection to be strictly device data, not personal data.

Many internet-enabled devices need to know how people use their products in order to make them better. But when faced with the request to send information about a computer error back to the developers, many of us are inclined to say "No," just in case that information is too personal.

The Applied Cryptography Group, has developed a new system for preserving privacy during data collection from the internet. Their technique emphasizes maintaining personal privacy.

"We have an increasing number of devices – in our lightbulbs, in our cars, in our toasters – that are collecting personal data and sending it back to the device's manufacturer. More of these devices means more sensitive data floating around, so the problem of privacy becomes more important," said Henry Corrigan-Gibbs, a graduate student in computer science who co-developed this system. "This type of system is a way to collect aggregate usage statistics without collecting individual user data in the clear."

Their system, called Prio, works by breaking up and obscuring individual information through a technique known as "secret sharing" and only allowing for the collection of aggregate reports. So, an individual's information is never reported in any decipherable form.

Prio is currently being tested by Mozilla in a version of Firefox called Nightly, which includes features Mozilla is still testing. On Nightly, Prio ran in parallel to the current remote data collection (telemetry) system for six weeks, gathering over 3 million data values. There was one glitch but once that was fixed, Prio's results exactly matched the results from the current system.

 

"This is rare example of a new privacy technology that is getting deployed in the real world," reports Dan, "It is really exciting to see this put to use."

 

Excerpted from Stanford News, "Stanford researchers develop new data privacy technique" November 1, 2018.

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October 2018

Published in Nature Nanotechnology, the team's research is also featured in the Stanford News. By structuring nanowires in a way that mimics geckos' ears, this team has found a way to record the incoming angle of light. This technology could have applications in robotic vision, photography and augmented reality.

"The typical way to determine the direction of light is by using a lens. But those are big and there's no comparable mechanisms when you shrink a device so it's smaller than most bacteria," states co-author and EE professor Shanhui Fan.

More detailed light detection could support advances in lens-less cameras, augmented reality and robotic vision, which is important for autonomous cars.

A long-term commitment This project began when co-author Dr. Zongfu Yu (EE postdoc & research associate '09-'13), was a student in Shanhui Fan's lab and took the initiative to combine his work there with research by Mark Brongersma and his lab. They made progress but had to put the work on hold while Yu applied for faculty positions and, subsequently, established his lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is now an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and in whose lab Soongyu Yi works.

Many years later, and after publishing the current proof-of-concept, the researchers said they look forward to building on their results. Next steps include deciding what else they might want to measure from light and putting several nanowires side-by-side to see if they can build an entire imaging system that records all the details they're interested in at once.

"We've worked on this for a long time – Zongfu has had a whole life story between the start and end of this project! It shows that we haven't compromised on quality," Professor Brongersma said. "And it's fun to think that we might be here for another 20 years figuring out all the potential of this system."

 

Congratulations to all the authors!

Authors include: Soongyu Yi; Ming Zhou; Zongfu Yu; Pengyu Fan; Nader Behdad; Dianmin Lin (PhD, '16); Ken Xingze Wang; Shanhui Fan; Mark Brongersma. Abstract: Sensing the direction of sounds gives animals clear evolutionary advantage. For large animals, with an ear-to-ear spacing that exceeds audible sound wavelengths, directional sensing is simply accomplished by recognizing the intensity and time differences of a wave impinging on its two ears. Recent research suggests that in smaller, subwavelength animals, angle sensing can instead rely on a coherent coupling of soundwaves between the two ears. Inspired by this natural design, here we show a subwavelength photodetection pixel that can measure both the intensity and incident angle of light. It relies on an electrical isolation and optical coupling of two closely spaced Si nanowires that support optical Mie resonances. When these resonators scatter light into the same free-space optical modes, a non-Hermitian coupling results that affords highly sensitive angle determination. By straightforward photocurrent measurements, we can independently quantify the stored optical energy in each nanowire and relate the difference in the stored energy between the wires to the incident angle of a light wave. We exploit this effect to fabricate a subwavelength angle-sensitive pixel with angular sensitivity, δθ = 0.32°. Source, Nature Nanotechnology.

Paper link www.nature.com/articles/s41565-018-0278-9

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October 2018

Andrea Goldsmith is the Stephen Harris professor in the School of Engineering and professor of EE. Goldsmith is featured in an October 'People of ACM – Andrea Goldsmith' — a bulletin that features ACM members whose unique scientific accomplishments and compelling personal attributes are making a difference in advancing computing as a science and a profession.

The bulletin details how she became interested in engineering and communications networks, and the future challenges of wireless communications.

In 2018, Goldsmith received several awards and recognitions. Including the

Andrea's research is focused on the design, analysis, and fundamental performance limits of wireless systems and networks, as well as the application of communications and signal processing to biology and neuroscience.

Andrea also serves on Stanford's Budget Group, Academic Council Advisory Board, Faculty Senate, and Faculty Women's Forum Steering Committee. She previously served as Chair of Stanford's Faculty Senate and as a member of its Commissions on Graduate Education and on Undergraduate Education, as well as its Task Force on Women and Leadership.

 

Please join us in congratulating Andrea!

October 2018

Professor emeritus Thomas Kailath was awarded the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Simon Ramo Founders Award. "For pioneering contributions to diverse fields of electrical engineering and for leadership in technology commercialization and in engineering education, guiding a stellar array of young scholars". The award ceremony was held during NAE's annual meeting.

Tom's acceptance remarks acknowledged his discovery of Simon Ramo and John Whinnery's 1944 textbook, Fields and Waves in Communication Electronics.

The Simon Ramo Founders Award recognizes achievement and is the most pretigious award from NAE. The Founders Award was established in 1965 by the Academy to honor an outstanding NAE member or foreign member who has upheld the ideals and principles of the NAE through professional, educational, and personal achievement and accomplishment. In 2013, the award was renamed after SImon Ramo, who was at the time the only surviving founding member of the NAE. He was a member of a committee of 25 that in 1964 advocated for establishing the National Academy of Engineering, which operates under the same congressional charter that governs the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Tom Kailath's acceptance remarks are available on the 2018 Simon Ramo Founders Award Acceptance Remarks page.

 

Please join us in congratulating Tom on this outstanding accomplishment!

October 2018

Dan Boneh has been named the inaugural holder of the Cryptography Professorship.

Shan Wang has been appointed the fifth holder of the Leland T. Edwards Professorship.

 

Dan joined the Stanford faculty in 1997 and has become one of the world's leading authorities on cryptography, encryption, cybersecurity, and most recently, blockchain. He also co-directs Stanford's cross-disciplinary Cyber Initiative. Dan is known by his colleagues as an extraordinary scholar who brings deep mathematical insight to his practice, while at the same time doing work that is transforming the industry. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and a recipient of the ACM Prize in Computing.
Dan's students describe him as an educator who is not only inspiring, but encouraging, fun, and humble at the same time.

Shan's work is remarkable both for its impact on society and for the way it captures the imagination of students and other faculty across a variety of areas. His current research explores the use of nano-sensors to detect cancer and other diseases, and he is also a leader in the field of information storage technologies. A few years ago, a group of his graduate students came up with a lab motto — "Make magnetics work for humankind, not vice versa!" — which Shan said was in part the students' tongue-in-cheek rebellion against their workload, and in part a pledge to focus on practical applications of their research. There's no question that Shan's work is having an extraordinary impact across a range of fields.

Previous holders of the professorship include Jens Nørskov, James Swartz, and Calvin Quate.

 

Please join us in congratulating Dan and Shan on their well-deserved appointments!

 

 

Read the "Report of the president: Appointments and promotions", October 18, 2018

 

October 2018

Professor Balaji Prabhakar researches traffic and routes and how a nudge can help us better manage our commute. Stanford Radio host Russ Altman speaks with Balaji on "The Future of Everything". 

While well-known mapping apps have transformed the daily commute through better information, Balaji Prabhakar is exploring ways to digitally incentivize people to improve their driving habits.

He calls it "nudging," and says that small shifts in commute times — just 20 minutes earlier or later — can make a considerable impact on the day's congestion in highly trafficked urban areas, like San Francisco.

A few years ago, Prabhakar made headlines with a Stanford-only study that used small monetary incentives backed by larger lottery-like rewards to reduce peak-hour commuting on campus. He later undertook a similar but much larger effort in Singapore to promote off-peak train travel. In four years, participation in Singapore grew from 20,000 to 400,000 users.

Listen to the Stanford Radio, "Nudging your Commute with guest Balaji Prabhakar"

Excerpted from the School of Engineering, Research & Ideas, "Balaji Prabhakar: Can digital incentives help alleviate traffic?" October 2018. 

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"Research by EE PhD candidates Geng, Liu, and Yin featured in NYT Tech article", July 2018.

"Balaji Prabhakar has been named ACM Fellow", December 2017.

October 2018

The Optical Society (OSA) has named Joseph W. Goodman, emeritus professor, the 2018 Honorary Member of The Optical Society. Honorary Membership is the most distinguished of all OSA Member categories, bestowed on individuals who have made seminal contributions to the field of optics as determined by unanimous vote of the OSA Board of Directors.

Dr. Goodman is honored for fundamental contributions in the fields of Fourier Optics and Optical Information Processing through his research, teaching and classic textbooks.

"Joe Goodman's pioneering work in holography, Fourier optics, and optical information processing produced the defining textbooks on these topics," said OSA President Ian Walmsley. "He has made outstanding contributions to OSA and our community. It is my great pleasure to welcome Joe into this group of distinguished OSA Members."

Dr. Goodman received an A.B. Degree in Engineering and Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1958, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1960 and 1963, respectively. He has held several positions at Stanford including, William E. Ayer Professor of Electrical Engineering, Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering, and Senior Associate Dean in the School of Engineering.

Since retiring from Stanford in 2000, Dr. Goodman has devoted time to philanthropic activities, including administering the J.W. and H.M. Goodman Family Charitable Foundation. In 2005, he and his wife, Hon Mai Goodman, endowed a book-writing prize, the Goodman Book Writing Award, which recognizes a recent and influential book in the field of optics and photonics. The award is co-sponsored by OSA and SPIE.

Goodman has held numerous leadership positions in the optics community. He was the 1988-1990 President of the International Commission for Optics (ICO). He has served OSA as a traveling lecturer, technical group leader, conference organizer, journal editor, Board of Directors member and 1992 President. He also served as a director of several corporations, including Optivision, Inc., where he was a co-founder, ONI Systems and E-TEK Dynamics.

Dr. Goodman is a Fellow of OSA, IEEE, and SPIE. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards including OSA's Frederic Ives Medal / Jarus W. Quinn Prize, Max Born Award, Esther Hoffman Beller Medal and Emmett Leith Award. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1987, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996.

 

Please join us in congratulating Joe on this wonderful recognition!

Source: www.osa.org, "Joseph W. Goodman Named 2018 Honorary Member of The Optical Society", September 2018.

October 2018

Professor Jelena Vuckovic has received NSF grants for two quantum research projects.

Many of today's technologies rely on the interaction of matter and energy at extremely small scales. Quantum mechanics studies nature at such scales -- at least a million times smaller than the width of a human hair -- allowing researchers to observe, manipulate and control the behavior of particles. Next-generation technologies for communication, computing and sensing will exploit interactions among particles in quantum systems, offering the promise of dramatic increases in accuracy and efficiency.

NSF-funded researchers will explore new ways to detect photons, build bio-inspired circuits, develop light-based communication systems and more. The new awards support multi-disciplinary research through two efforts: Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE)-Transformational Advances in Quantum Systems (TAQS) effort, and RAISE-Engineering Quantum Integrated Platforms for Quantum Communication (EQuIP) effort.

Some of the supported research teams will study new possibilities about the behavior of quantum states. Others will investigate new ways to stabilize quantum systems, making them more useful for technological applications. Both efforts support training of the future quantum workforce.

Jelena's projects are both within the RAISE-TAQS effort. RAISE-TAQS will support several projects for innovative approaches, experimental demonstrations and transformative advances that will help lead to systems and proof-of-concept validations in quantum sensing, communication, computing and simulations.

The NSF RAISE-TAQS effort is at the intersection of multiple disciplines and is designed to encourage scientists to pursue exploratory, cutting-edge concepts. It is meant to build a strong community of team participants who have demonstrated a readiness to examine a broad range of scientific and engineering topics related to quantum technologies.

Jelena is the Principal Investigator of "Engineering high quality, practical qubits in diamond". She is coordinating the research effort between Stanford, Harvard, and Virginia Tech.

Her second project is titled, "Inverting the design paradigm: Tunable qubits in hybrid photonic materials as a scalable platform for quantum photonic devices". She is the co-Principal Investigator.

 

Please join us in congratulating Jelena for this outstanding achievement.

 

 

 

 

Excerpted from the National Science Foundation Press Release, "NSF Announces new awards for quantum research, technologies", September 24, 2018.

September 2018

Congratulations to Professor Andrea Goldsmith and Santa Clara University Professor Katie Wilson (PhD '94).

As co-chairs of the IEEE Wireless Communications & Networking Conference (WCNC), they are recognized for their successful mission to incorporate diversity, the latest technologies, and both industrial and academic forums.

The IEEE WCNC event is the world premier wireless event to exchange ideas and information on the advancement of wireless communications and networking technology. The event brings together industry professionals, academics, and individuals from government agencies and other institutions to exchange information and ideas.

Held in San Francisco, IEEE WCNC 2017 featured a comprehensive technical program with numerous technical sessions showcasing the latest technologies, applications and services. In addition, the conference program includes workshops, tutorials, keynote talks from industrial leaders and renowned academics, panel discussions, a large exhibition, business and industrial forums. 

Professors Goldsmith and Wilson receive the iCON Award
The award was accepted by co-chairs Andrea Goldsmith and Katie Wilson of Santa Clara University, whose outstanding leadership drove results for and led advancement for the conference's long-term goals. This event is exemplary of how future events can grow, evolve, and be representative of today's technology industry. The WCNC organizing committee included several Stanford alums who also participated as chairs for the technical, tutorial, workshop, and panel sessions.
 
 

Please join us in congratulating Andrea, Katie and the planning committee that helped make this event such a success!

Pictured are Professor Goldsmith and Professor Wilson, receiving the iCON Award, August 2018. 

 

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September 2018

Ayfer Ozgur was recently selected to receive the Communication Theory Technical Committee (CTTC) Early Achievement Award for 2018. Her citation reads: "For contributions in the fundamental capacity limits of multihop wireless networks and energy-harvesting radios."

The CTTC Early Achievement Award recognizes members of the Communication Theory Technical Committee (CTTC) who have achieved early career visibility in the field through research and service and who have participated in the CTTC, and are within 10 years of their Ph.D.


Please join us in congratulating Ayfer on this well-deserved award!

 

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February 2014

Three staff members each received a $50 Visa card in recognition of their extraordinary efforts as part of the department’s 2014 Staff Gift Card Bonus Program. The EE department received several nominations in January, and nominations from 2013 were also considered.

Following are January’s gift card recipients and some of the comments from their nominators:

Ann Guerra, Faculty Administrator

  • “She is very kind to students and always enthusiastic to help students… every time we need emergent help, she is willing to give us a hand.”
  • “Ann helps anyone who goes to her for help with anything, sometimes when it’s beyond her duty.” 

Teresa Nguyen, Student Accounting Associate

  • “She stays on top of our many, many student financial issues, is an extremely reliable source of information and is super friendly.”
  • “Teresa’s cheerful disposition, her determination, and her professionalism seem to go above and beyond what is simply required.”

Helen Niu, Faculty Administrator

  • “Helen is always a pleasure to work with.”
  • “She goes the extra mile in her dealings with me, which is very much appreciated.”

The School of Engineering once again gave the EE department several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond. More people will be recognized next month, and past nominations will still be eligible for future months. EE faculty, staff and students are welcome to nominate a deserving staff person by visitinghttps://gradapps.stanford.edu/NotableStaff/nomination/create.

Ann Guerra  Teresa Nguyen  Helen Niu

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